Author: James Gallagher
NHS patients with lymphoma have for the first time been given a pioneering treatment that genetically reprogrammes their immune system to fight cancer.
Mike Simpson, 62, from Durham, says his cancer is now "on the run".
The therapy, called CAR-T, is a "living drug" that is tailor-made for each patient using their body's own cells.
Doctors at King's College Hospital, London, said some patients were being completely cured in a way that had "never been seen before".
How does the treatment work?CAR-T is the pinnacle of personalised medicine as it has to be developed for each individual patient.
Firstly, parts of the immune system - specifically white blood cells called T-cells - are removed from the patient's blood.
They are frozen in liquid nitrogen and sent to laboratories in the United States.
There, the white blood cells are genetically reprogrammed so that rather than killing bacteria and viruses, they will seek out and destroy cancer.
They are now "chimeric antigen receptor T-cells" - or CAR-T cells.
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